Thursday, July 23, 2009

Food, Inc - A Movie to Understand America's Food Industry

I would encourage everyone to see this movie. Parents, please see this movie first before letting your young children see the film. Make sure they are mature enough to understand and discuss the ideas that this movie will present. For families with older kids (>12yo) who choose to see this movie together, I can guarantee some interesting conversations will occur!

Agriculture in the United States today has been transformed by the factory model. While great efficiencies have been achieved by this model, there is a high price to pay for it. Food, Inc. focuses on the unintended consequences of cheap and fast food.

The food that we consume is being produced and controlled by a handful of very large corporations. The power that these corporations wield and their ties to Washington, DC spill over to organizations such as the FDA, USDA. These ties influence public food policy and subsidies. Food, Inc brings to light these conflicts of interests. There are many more unintended consequences such labor issues, foreign policy concerns and world hunger that result from a highly mechanized system of food production.

Food, Inc illustrates how wheat, corn, soybeans are now in every food product that we see on our supermarket shelves. The movie explains why these crops in particular have become the dominant ingredients in food production and why this may not be a good thing.

Fruits and vegetables are considered specialty crops and these farmers do not receive very much in the way of government subsidies. So, there are not enough farmers to grow the fruits and vegetables that we need to meet our basic recommended daily allowances (RDA). These RDA values have been set by the same government that does not support fruit and vegetable growers. Ironic!

Food, Inc profiles a sustainable farm in Virginia called Polyface Farms. Joel Salatin is a powerful spokesman for his way of farming at Polyface. His animals are humanely treated and his land is cultivated with care. He shows it is possible to create a food system that is good for humans, animals and the land.

The movie's narrators are Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation. Food, Inc is the film version of their books. In this case the movie is as good as the books.

Food is such a fundamental need for us human beings. We should understand where and how our food comes to us. Over the past few decades, we have become increasingly disconnected from the source of our food. Food, Inc. can help us make more informed decisions about our food for the well-being of ourselves and our families.

Playing at the Drexel East theater on Main St. in Bexley. See this movie!